Recently, there was an ExxonMobil oil spill in Arkansas, according to NPR. However, there was very little media coverage on it.
ExxonMobil threatened to arrest journalists who enter the area of the oil spill, because they didn’t want media coverage of the damage the oil spill has done. From Exxon’s point of view, it makes sense; they messed up, and oil companies already have a bad name; they don’t want to add to it. However, it is unjust to try to hide something from the rest of the country.
I had no idea this oil spill even happened until my sociology professor Eric Chase informed us of it during class. I thought I was news-aware, but this got me to wondering what else I might not be hearing about.
This isn’t the first time something has been hushed from the media. In fact, it happens often. The mainstream media is skewed to fit the desires of the corporations and the people who have power in this country.
The United States isn’t the only place where this happens; take the extreme example of North Korea. The government shows its citizens only what they want them to see, and nothing else.
Although it is not nearly as extreme here, we must be aware of what the media shows –– and doesn’t show.
During war time, you’ll be more likely to hear the passive tense used when the U.S. kills other troops. Many people would rather not acknowledge that our people are killing other people, so in order to make the military look like they’re doing good, they are presented in a way that makes it seem like they are doing the right thing.
There are people who do believe that it is the right thing, but there are enough people on either side of the issue for it to be important enough for the media to slightly skew it. The media sensationalizes and fabricates stories, because that is what people will watch.
It’s interesting to see how different media companies portray things, too. For example, if you were to watch the presidential election results on Fox News, and then on MSNBC, it would look like two totally different elections because of how the company wants to portray the results.
Realistically, there is not a lot we can do to change this. However, we can be aware that this is happening, and we can dig deep for the news that we do not hear from mainstream sources.
A quick search will bring up a variety of underground news networks.
One of the better-known networks is Wikileaks, which posts leaked government papers for the general public to read.
AlterNet is another alternative news source that may give different stories than a mainstream publication would.
Some of these sources, and even the mainstream ones, have a lot of bias, so they should be read carefully and perhaps fact-checked. This is why we must do our own research on issues, instead of just assuming that everything we read or hear is accurate.